LifeSize Delivers Ultimate Flexibility for Video Infrastructure with UVC Platform Updates
For the past two years LifeSize has been focused on moving away from the more traditional video collaboration infrastructure consisting primarily of fixed configuration hardware appliances or fixed configuration software towards a configuration that offers the customer a flexible, simple to use, fully software-based application infrastructure. Last January LifeSize launched its Universal Video Collaboration (UVC) Platform consisting of three applications UVC Video Center (HD video streaming and recording), UVC Transit (firewall/NAT traversal) and UVC Access (IP routing and call control). June saw the addition of the UVC Video Engine for Microsoft Lync. Then in August LifeSize launched the industry’s first virtualized, standards-based Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) which we reviewed.
Today, LifeSize announces a further augmentation of its UVC platform that furthers its strategy to offer a video collaboration platform that lets customers dynamically spin up ports all at one location or distributed around the world where and when they need it, but managed simply, centrally and consistently. New enhancements to its UVC Platform are the addition of support for Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization, an all-new video management application, LifeSize UVC Manager and enhancements to LifeSize UVC Video Center.
New UVC Platform Enhancements
Support for Microsoft Hyper-V Virtualization
Microsoft Hyper-V support has been on the short list of midmarket customers from a few hundred to a few thousand employees because of its cost competitiveness and integration with Windows. Today, according to LifeSize, over 90 percent of virtual environments exist on Microsoft Hyper-V (approx. 25 percent share) or VMware (approx. 65 percent share). The UVC Platform now supports both, extending the benefits of choice and flexibility to a broader set of customers.
Introduction of UVC Manager
LifeSize has had a non-virtualized management application in the past. This new app has been completely rewritten, virtualized and fully integrated into the software-based UVC infrastructure. UVC Manager is now an all-in-one video management application designed to save IT time and resources. It comes with a free management proxy, so IT administrators can manage their video devices behind firewalls and NATs. Its Smart Scheduler software and Automatic Call Establishment frees administrators from manual scheduling, configuration and upgrades. A proactive alarm management system keeps administrators informed with on-the-go email alerts and graphical reports. UVC Manager also features a variety of reporting functions that provide statistics for ROI tracking. Key features are:
- Free UVC Manager proxy – permits management of video devices behind firewalls and NATs in remote branch offices
- Smart scheduler – a web-based scheduler supporting automatic resource allocation based on scheduling demands
- System control – enables administrators to track, manage, monitor, upgrade and schedule video calls and recordings
- Fast, easy scheduling – now available for multiparty, P2P or recorded conferences
- Reports – available via prepackaged video network reports on usage, inventory, diagnostic and reporting on call detail records (CDR). Graphical and data reports are by year, month, week and day
- System groupings and directories services – assigns video systems and infrastructure to logical groups for group-based management and multi-directory address book management
- Security – supports gatekeeper registrations as part of device provisioning. Secure access methods include SSL, SSH and SNMP. Also available are HTTPS-based web access and ability to lock down services for maintenance activities, etc.
UVC Video Center 2.1
LifeSize UVC Video Center now includes the following features:
- SIP dial-in recording and IVR support – can now accept dial-ins from any video conferencing device or software client that is standards-based
- Blackboard Learn integration – adds a leading content management solution in the education vertical into Video Center turning it into a capture and distribution engine
- Closed captioning support – now available in multiple languages
- Other Enhancements:
- Built-in Capacity Planner
- Add chapters on video timeline
- 1080p30 recording/streaming
- Secure Streaming with RTMPS – Real Time Messaging Protocol withSSL-encryption
- Improved ability to federate multiple nodes
- Support for IPv6, used for video streaming purposes only
- Factory reset facility
- Audio-only streaming for increased scale
Pricing and Availability
LifeSize UVC Manager is globally available to order today and starts at approximately $399 USD MSRP.
LifeSize UVC Video Center 2.1 is globally available to order today and starts at approximately $9,999 USD MSRP.
What This Means to You
To Customers: LifeSize UVC solutions play well in the midmarket – organizations with a few hundred to a few thousand employees that have some regional, national or global scale. Principal verticals are Education and Health Care. Within this space, the key demographic are organizations with IT capability that are not net new to video and want to have some control over how they manage their environment. The UVC Platform certainly gives them flexibility do so.
Three solution differentiators that prospective customers should consider in choosing their video collaboration solution are:
Availability of concurrent-use licenses. For example, on the client side, the LifeSize ClearSea virtualized and software-based solution for desktop and mobile video collaboration is sold by concurrent ports. In other words, you can have thousands of users registered with the clients. All you’re paying for, however, are the access ports available to support concurrent calls. More broadly speaking, since the UVC Platform is virtualized software, you could have four ports of UVC Multipoint spun up in a sales office in Europe during the day and at night transfer that over to serve West coast of the U.S. if that’s what you want. That’s the nature of the software and the licensing. It is very flexible. Customers can very easily spin up and spin down as their needs require.
Video conferencing is something customers want to see and experience. It’s not something bought purely from a website or a datasheet. And, as software, customers can immediately download UVC apps and exercise the “try-before-you-buy” option without having to wait for boxes to be shipped, configured, etc. There’s no additional hardware needed. The solution is enabled with a license key.
Now that the UVC Platform has a single common UI, licensing engine and all-in-one video management application – things that normally would consume development cycle time – LifeSize will be fast to market with new innovations. Expect to see major announcements about every 90 days on this platform into the immediate future.
This is a good solution in a very competitive and dynamic market. Bottom line, then, for customers is to do their due diligence and carefully scrutinize and compare competitive offerings from LifeSize, with those from Avaya, Cisco, Polycom and Vidyo and others on the market, for the right fit – no one size fits all – in terms of the risk-adjusted benefits and TCO. These benefit/cost assessments of alternative systems need to consider the solution’s impact on productivity improvement, CapEx and OpEx, business continuity, data security, etc. Risk considerations need to cover such items as: the impact of the new system on competitive differentiation; ability to scale to meet demand; and alignment of future business requirements with currently offered feature/functionality and the solution’s technology roadmap and, of course, interoperability.
For Partners: LifeSize goes to market worldwide through its reseller channel. It doesn’t sell direct. We noted back in August when we reviewed the UVC Multipoint that partners would have the opportunity to engage in sales to CIOs and IT management around the benefits of deploying and managing a single virtualized infrastructure in the datacenter resulting in:
Lower capital expenses
Lower operating expenses
Easier business continuity and disaster recovery
Increased security and data integrity
Full mobile flexibility with in-office experience
Improved collaboration and productivity.
This is still true. Moreover, the LifeSize roadmap which includes a 90-day refreshment cycle should certainly open up new business opportunities.